We all know that addiction doesn’t necessarily mean craving for alcohol or tobacco only. One may be addicted to tea, coffee, sugar, onion, garlic, chocolates, junk food and even sex. This way most of us are addicted to something or the other in our life. So what leads to addiction? Let us understand this using simple principles of Ayurveda but before that it will be great if you watch this Video to visualize how addiction works.
Here we go….Because of the complexity of works it performs, human brain on an average needs almost 30% of the total blood supply. Foods like alcohol, tobacco, tea, coffee, onion, garlic, chocolates fall in the category of vasodilators (those which widen our blood vessels) which reduce blood towards the brain because of the effect of gravity. And lack of blood reduces stability of the brain leading to excitement. Now, since vasodilating foods have a temporary relaxing effect on the mind, our mind gets fooled and asks for the same substance leading to further loss of blood from the brain thereby leading to addiction. Now when the mind is getting less blood, it asks for those substances which push blood towards the brain and since salt increases the volume of the blood, the mind falls in the trap of junk foods which are extremely high on salt thereby giving a kick to the mind. Thus you will find people having these vasodilating substances are fond of salty snacks especially kids of today’s world who are fond of chocolates as well as super salty snacks. All this leads to high BP as an imbalance is created in the body where brain is high on excitement (or say high metabolism) due to low blood and lower body is low on metabolism.
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On the other hand when a person is filling his or her stomach with very sugary food, he/she is not able to get enough nutrients which again excite the entire body and mind, since absence of nutrients leads to loss of insulation of our nervous system leading to electricity (or pitta) flowing haywire like in the case of a short circuit. Thus for settling this excitement, the mind again asks for more sugar and also salt for pushing more blood there (for a visual understanding click here).
Coming back to tea and coffee. Apart from vasodilation, tea and coffee are highly pungent (heating) and astringent (constricting). So high pungency boosts up our blood circulation which has become slow after a good night sleep especially if one has taken heavy dinner. However, this type of push is totally wrong as one must increase blood circulation slowly and gradually after waking up instead of suddenly rushing it. Now since tea and coffee are astringent too, they reduce the volume of our blood and other cells in the body. Thus, reduced volume leads to loss of blood towards brain and then the person asks for more sugar, more salt and more of that substance which had increased blood circulation leading to addiction. And then, there comes a day when mind is so high on excitement that it leads to impulsive decisions, wrong doings, high ego and aggressive behaviour, thereby leading to dent on health, relationships, finances etc.
Thus to conclude:-
- It is always better to stay away from vasodilating foods and sugar (not only in sweets but even in milk) right from the childhood unless they are used once in a while as medicine.
- Addiction to vasodilating substances can be undone only and only by doing yogasanas which push blood towards the upper body and upper peripherals like headstands and moolbandha asana respectively.
- Addiction to sugar can be controlled by having foods like cottage cheese whenever the body craves for sugar as milk is the only food which has all the nutrients required by the body and mind.
- Its not only consumption of sugar that leads to addiction to sugar but even consumption of vasodilating substance and heavy dinner also lead to addiction to sugar because both these acts lead to thickening of blood thereby leading to reduced supply of blood towards brain thereby pushing the person to take sweet foods that give instant energy which the brain is craving for.
- Instead of resorting to tea and coffee, start your day with light exercises, brisk walk or surya namaskar (do it lightly if pitta is already high in you) which will increase blood circulation to your peripherals including brain and wake you up naturally.
- Lastly while vasodilating foods weaken our brain and upper body, they strengthen our lower body by pushing more blood. Thus this leads to increased urge for cravings generating out of lower body i.e. food and sex while creating diseases of the upper body.
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